Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr will be 'happy' as Kiwis spend less on Black Friday - Brad Olsen

Kiwis took a cautious approach to Black Friday shopping with new data showing they spent less than last year.

Consumers spent $67 million on Black Friday, which was down 6.9 percent compared to 2021, according to spending figures from Worldline.

Spending over the seven days ending Saturday was $350 million and was down 9.5 percent on last year. When this was compared to Black Friday 2019, spending was up a 1.5 percent. 

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr will be 'happy' as Kiwis spend less on Black Friday - Brad Olsen
Photo credit: Wordline

It follows the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) hiking the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 75 basis points last week - the largest-ever rise - to increase interest rates and hopefully curb inflation.

RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr later admitted the RBNZ was purposely engineering a recession to slow spending and bring inflation under control.  

Infometrics principal economist Brad Olsen told AM on Monday Orr will be "happy" as Kiwis spent less on Black Friday. 

"Let's be clear, there was still a lot of spending that was going on … but you are starting to see just a little bit more caution in Kiwis' approach to spending," Olsen told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green.

"Of course, remembering that 6.9 percent drop in the value of spending means that the actual number of goods, if you will, that we took out of stores over the last few days is quite a bit lower given how high prices inflation has been, so that message is getting through."

Olsen said Black Friday shopping over recent years has been a good precursor of how strong Christmas spending will be.

"The week of Christmas, when all of us, including myself, forget to buy presents and have to rush out there, that normally puts a fair bit of cash through the tills more than Black Friday does," Olsen said.

Olsen said the numbers are suggesting a little bit more caution on the behalf of shoppers who aren't as keen to go out and spend. 

"I think what you are saying is inflation is hitting. People know the interest rates are going up, so there is just, not a complete clamping down of the budget, but a little bit more caution coming through," Olsen said. 

"At the same time, I think our businesses are starting to think quite seriously about how much stock they're holding because they don't want to get caught short if Kiwis are about to spend quite a bit less."

When questioned if last year's data was a fair comparison given Auckland was at alert level 3 step 2 of the old COVID-19 Protection Framework - traffic light system - on Black Friday last year, Olsen believes it just reflects the state of the market. 

"I think that also reflected the economic environment at that point was just so bouncy. You were falling over yourself to spend more money than the person next to you," Olsen said. 

"Given that parts of the country at least had been coming out of the Delta lockdown, interest rates were still absolutely rock bottom low, the housing market was just about at its peak, so there was a lot of economic energy coming through."

Watch the full interview with Brad Olsen above.